Updated: Aug 13, 2020
Playgrounds offer endless hours of fun, fresh air and exercise for kids. Children learn through play and playgrounds offer a wonderful opportunity for them to learn new skills. However, it’s important to make sure that old or outdated playground equipment, inappropriate surfacing and unsafe behavior doesn’t ruin the fun.
Tips for Playground Safety
Playground equipment is designed to be safe while being fun, but children still need to be supervised at all times while using the equipment because accidents do happen. Keep your eyes on young kids especially. Kids like to test their limits, so it is important to be there to stop them if they start using play equipment improperly.
Teach your kids about playground safety.
Lay out a set of playground rules before letting your kids play. Here are a few key guidelines to set for child safety:
Leave personal property (backpacks, bags, bicycles, etc) away from the equipment so that nobody trips over them. Stay aware of things in the area that can be easily tripped over, such as tree stumps or large rocks.
If it’s raining, stay inside. Wet playground equipment can be slippery and cause accidents.
Use equipment the way it was intended to be used. Don’t stand on swings, climb over guardrails, slide headfirst, etc.
Keep a safe distance away from other kids using swings. Always sit properly on swings with your hands firmly on the chain and never let go before coming to a complete stop (with feet on the ground) or jump off the swing while it’s in motion.
Pay attention while using climbing equipment and focus on what you are doing.
No roughhousing. Never push or shove past other children using the equipment. Take your turn and play nice.
Don’t wear clothes with drawstrings, long necklaces or extremely baggy clothes. They can get caught on equipment and cause a strangulation hazard. Keep items like dog leashes and jump ropes away from the play area.
Wear sunscreen, even on cloudy days. Nobody likes a sunburn.
Check playground safety surfacing.
The ground beneath a playground should be covered with a soft material, such as wood chips, sand or rubber. Some surfacing types can erode over time and will need to be periodically refilled or replaced.
Check that playground equipment Is well-maintained and in good condition.
Make sure guardrails and other equipment is in good condition to prevent falls. Playground equipment should never be wobbly or loose (unless it is a motion toy which is designed to wobble). Check for unsafe signs of wear that might mean it’s time for a playground replacement, such as rust, cracks, loose bolts, etc.
Make sure to pay attention to age range.
Playgrounds are designed with two different age ranges in mind, ages 2-5 and ages 5-12. Children under 5 should not play on equipment made for ages 5-12 as the play elements and playground height can be dangerous for younger children. Sometimes the age range will be posted on a nearby sign.
If accidents DO happen, make sure that you are prepared. Always have a phone handy to call for medical attention if needed. It’s a good idea to have a first aid kit available for any scrapes or cuts as well.
Educate yourself on how to spot a concussion, which is a type of traumatic brain injury caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head. It can also be caused by a hit to the body which causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth. A concussion occurs when the brain bounces or twists inside the skull and can cause chemical changes in the brain or damage brain cells. If your child sustains a fall or a bump to the head or body, watch them carefully for signs of a concussion and seek medical attention right away. Some signs of concussion include (but are not limited to) appearing dazed or stunned, headache or “pressure” in the head, nausea or vomiting, balance problems or dizziness, double or blurry vision, two different sized pupils, confusion or memory problems, loss of consciousness, and mood, behavior or personality changes.
Playgrounds are important places for children to explore, learn and have fun, but it is important to always stay safe. If you have outdated or worn play equipment that needs to be replaced, you can browse our available playground equipment here.